Sullen Earth

Is there a band whose music has been like an old friend to you down through the years? My Silent Wake has been that band for me. Hailing from the coastal town of Weston-super-Mare in England, they’ve been making doomy metal since 2005. And while the music itself may seem quite brutal and depressing, believe me when I say that it’s gotten me through some bleak times in my life.

There were many years of suicidal ideation, many years of crushing anxiety, many years of toxic religion. Throughout it all, the songs of My Silent Wake gave me a safe space in which I could unearth myself and actually breathe. I felt buried by life. I needed air. This music gave me that.

I’ve been doing much better for over a decade now, and listening to My Silent Wake these days continues to bring me joy. I feel moved by it, free because of it, maybe even a bit empowered by it. I am grateful that this band exists, and I’m grateful to all its members, past and present, who have made it what it is today. I recently shared an image I’d created with Ian Arkley—one of its founding members—as just a little thank you for… well, everything. Unbeknownst to me, he decided to set this image to the song it had been inspired by—called ‘Sullen Earth’—and put it on YouTube.

I’m grinning like a dope.

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022

GUEST POST // Scars and Barbed Wire by Tony Mutton

I remember the history of my first scar,
You don’t forget bullying and barbed wire
Chased by a group of Catholic and non Catholic boys,
There was little difference between bullies in those days,
They all ran fast in the thrill of the hunt
Cornered at the base of a once insurmountable chain mail fence
Fear can make a young boy do extraordinary things
Climbing the 12 feet and flipping over the top
Barbed wire hung rusty on the other side of the fence
Careless workmanship an age old story
I remember the feeling as barb caught skin and
Still visualise the trail of bright red running down my leg
The run home was fast and bloody, my grey sock turning red
I tried to sneak in quietly through the back door
But an ever vigilant mother could not be outsmarted
I’m sure I lied, never telling her that I was being chased
Life was easier to live if the bullies felt you never told
Bullying is like racism, it’s not in your genes, it’s learned
What I want to know is what were the teachers teaching
Nothing good comes with a serving of barbed wire

by TONY MUTTON
© All rights reserved 2021

saoirse

at the beginning of time there was a girl
in a melamine bowl
she had no family, no friends
and was on the dole
she was sat there in a corn flake swirl
a milky, sugared doll
her belongings were mere odds and ends
oh, what a poor little soul!

her name was saoirse
though people hardly remembered
yearning between dearth and plenty
buried under stone in the garden of rasure

at noonday’s predoom was a woman cold
in a gumball machine
for the merriment of boozers
in a stinky shebeen
she would shiver nude and candy bold
a pert and tart cuisine
a laughing stock even for losers
oh, buy her a tall glass of poteen!

her name was saoirse
though people hardly remembered
yearning between dearth and plenty
buried under stone in the garden of rasure

at the end of all things there was a crone
in a bottle discarded
fighting her battles all over again
in weakness, unguarded
she inhaled a black wind through her bones
and all she’d once regarded
her last sigh was for the land of cockaigne
where life is ample tabled and lardered

her name was saoirse
though people hardly remembered
yearning between dearth and plenty
buried under stone in the garden of rasure

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2020